By Rachel Wall

Title: Build a Better Bowl

“Meals in a bowl” are a popular trend in the food world providing both sweet and savory options. Look around at your local restaurants or browse through Pinterest and you will see burrito, rice, salad, and even smoothie bowls!

Bowls are a good way to incorporate a variety of food groups, but the calories can add up quickly. Consider the tips below to help you build a healthier bowl.

Bulk up the “bowl” with fruits and veggies

* Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and eating them can reduce your risk for chronic disease

* Aim to have at least two color groups represented in your fruit and vegetable selection

Incorporate a whole grain

* Whole grains pack a nutritional punch by providing fiber, B vitamins, and phytochemicals (compounds produced by plants that may help prevent disease)

* Easy whole grain options include brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain pasta, kamut, quinoa, or bulgur * Check out our Whole Grains publication ( for additional ideas

Choose a lean protein

* Protein in your bowl means you will stay fuller longer

* Eggs, lean meats, tofu, beans, Greek yogurt, and nut butters are great go-to options

Top wisely

* Select toppings low in added sugar and sodium, such as dried fruits with no added sugar or plain nuts and seeds


Zesty Whole Grain Salad

Serving Size: 1 ½ cups Serves: 6


2 cups cooked whole grain (brown rice, kamut, quinoa)

2 tablespoons oil

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste

2 apples, chopped

½ cup chopped nuts

½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins)

1 bunch kale or 10-ounce package spinach (about 6 cups), torn into bite-size pieces


1. Cook whole grain according to package directions. Cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.

3. Stir apples, nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain into dressing.

4. Toss greens with other ingredients.


Substitute 2 cups of chopped fruit (strawberries, grapes, oranges) for the apples.

Do not give honey and nuts to infants under one year of age.

Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories, 12g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 65mg sodium, 45g total carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 16g sugar, 5g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more recipes, information, and videos, visit:


Title: Safe Food on the Big Screen?

Flip to your favorite cooking show and you may observe the chef licking their fingers or even cutting vegetables on the same surface as raw meat. Cooking shows are fun to watch – but do they demonstrate safe food handling practices? A recent study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests there is room for improvement.

The study involved a panel of state regulators and food practitioners completing a 19-question survey, which measured safe food practices, use of utensils and gloves, protection from contamination, and time and temperature control. The panel completed the survey while watching ten popular cooking shows. Lead author Dr. Nancy L. Cohen stated, “The majority of practices rated were out of compliance or conformance with recommendations in at least 70% of episodes and food safety practices were mentioned in only three episodes.”

A number of safe food handling behaviors were not being done by TV chefs that could lead to a foodborne illness and make someone sick. Areas for improvement include wearing clean clothing, using a hair restraint, handling raw food safely, and washing hands. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are the leading sources of foodborne illness in the United States (1), yet less than 10% of the shows demonstrated proper washing of produce. Don’t be a “TV chef” at home, always make sure you’re following safe food handling practices. For food safety tips, visit



Title: Wearable Technology Tops 2017 Fitness Trends

Wearable technology tops the list of fitness trends for 2017 according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Wearable technology includes activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices. Lead author of the study, Walter R. Thompson, PhD, FACSM, stated, “The health data collected by wearable technology can be used to inform the user about their current fitness level and help them make healthier lifestyle choices.”

Studies done by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Iowa State University have examined the accuracy of activity trackers. In the ACE study, the Jawbone UP was the top performer, while the BodyMedia Core came out first in the Iowa State study. Researchers in both studies say that even more important than accuracy is the fact that people get up and actually move. They encourage consumers to do whatever it takes to be active – activity tracker included or not.